News

Mich. appeals court knocks down towns’ turbine ban 

Source: Steven Reed, Lansing State Journa • Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Three Michigan townships called a special joint meeting set for Thursday night to consider how to continue their two-year blockade of a proposed 39-turbine project after the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling invalidating their restrictive ordinances. The three-judge panel ruled that Clinton County’s zoning ordinance passed in 2011 trumped Dallas, Essex and Bengal townships’ police-power ordinances restricting height, setback, noise or other elements of the wind farm. The judges said the townships could have passed zoning ordinances but chose not to.

Legislature-commissioned report finds carbon tax feasible for Ore. 

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

A carbon tax in Oregon would have minimal effects on jobs and the economy, paving the way for the state’s Legislature to pursue carbon pricing in 2015, according to an analysis by researchers at Portland State University’s Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC).That, in turn, could be a first step in joining or linking to California’s existing cap-and-trade system and perhaps British Columbia’s revenue-neutral carbon tax, as well. The state and Canadian province, along with Washington, have already committed to regional carbon pricing under the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy.

ALEC model pushes states to veto EPA’s Clean Power Plan 

Source: Scott Detrow, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

If members of an influential conservative group get their way, state legislatures across the country will soon pass measures giving themselves veto power over how their states comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The American Legislative Exchange Council’s energy subcommittee approved a model bill last week that would block states’ plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, unless both chambers of the state legislature give the proposals their blessing.

In North Dakota, wind energy closes the gap on coal

Source: By David Rupkalvis Minot Daily News • Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

While coal-powered mines will probably be the No. 1 source for producing electricity in North Dakota, wind energy is slowly closing the gap. At Basin Electric Cooperative, the co-op members asked Basin to produce 10 percent of its energy through renewable resources, primarily wind and hydro power. Within a few years, the company reached that threshold and has since surpassed it, the Minot Daily News reported.

$1T spending deal averts government shutdown 

Source: Nick Juliano, Manuel Quiñones and Annie Snider, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Of the three main energy and environmental policymaking agencies, only DOE would see a budget increase. Its energy programs would grow $22 million to $10.2 billion next year, with increases across its most significant offices. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s budget authority would grow nearly $25 million compared to fiscal 2014, to $1.93 billion for this fiscal year; Nuclear Energy would receive $914 million, a $24 million increase from last year; and Fossil Energy would add nearly $9 million, securing $571 million in the bill.

House to vote on short-term funding bill

Source: By Scott Wong, The Hill.com • Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Reid filed cloture on the defense bill Tuesday, likely setting up a vote Thursday to end an expected filibuster of the bill. A final vote would be held either Thursday or Friday. The Democratic leader said he would schedule a vote on a one-year extension of tax provisions after dealing with the omnibus and defense legislation. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is pushing for a longer-term tax package that would include a permanent extension of charitable tax breaks. But Reid sees little chance of passing it.

Attorneys general, energy companies work hand in hand — report 

Source: E&E • Posted: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Some of the nation’s largest energy firms have formed tight relationships with Republican attorneys general, using the offices to bring credibility to industry advocacy against Obama administration pollution rules. While attorneys general are elected as legal representatives of state residents, many are using the positions to advocate for powerful corporate energy interests, documents show. When Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) wrote to U.S. EPA to argue the agency was overestimating the amount of air pollution generated from natural gas wells in his state, he used a three-page letter written by Devon Energy that he presented as his own.

Liberal legal icon Tribe slams EPA’s ‘fatally flawed’ power plant rule 

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

EPA has argued that the so-called legislative “glitch” is an ambiguity and their interpretation should be granted deference under the 1984 Supreme Court precedent, Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. Tribe disagreed. He said that an “ambiguity” that qualifies for Chevron deference is the “existence of more than one possible meaning in the language” of a law. EPA’s argument that it may choose which version of 111(d) it wants is an “entirely novel” argument, he said. “Because of these constitutional questions,” Tribe wrote, “EPA is not entitled to deference under Chevron.”

White House to appeal controversial demand response ruling 

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The Obama administration signaled Friday that it will ask the Supreme Court to review a controversial court ruling that left a high-profile federal demand response program in disarray earlier this year. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in a letter asked the Supreme Court for an extension through Jan. 15 to file a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a federal court’s ruling that scrapped the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s demand-response program.

Report: Oregon could produce enough wind energy to power 9 coal plants if growth continues

Source: By Kelly House, The Oregonian • Posted: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

If wind turbines continue to spread across the Oregon landscape at their current rate, within 15 years the state’s wind could produce as much energy as nine coal plants. Those figures come from an analysis released Thursday by Environment Oregon, a group that advocates for renewable energy.